Monday, February 19, 2018

Space Buddies and More

Finally some word on...words. Words related to the Upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story. First up is a novel with two alternate covers (one on each side of the book, I guess). This one comes out 4/17/18:

The blurb from the announcement:

In a story spans the decades, from a time before Han and Lando ever met, to a time after the destruction of the Empire, Star Wars: Last Shot features the two biggest scoundrels in the New Republic on their most dangerous adventure yet. 
The Empire has been destroyed and smuggler-turned-war hero Han Solo is trying to adjust to domestic bliss with his wife Leia and young son, Ben. Enter Lando Calrissian, who needs Han’s help or all life on Cloud City will be annihilated. Lando is being hunted by a gangster known as Fyzen Gor, and to no one’s surprise, it’s actually Han’s fault. Not long after Han met Chewie and completed the Kessel Run, he and Sana Starros cheated Gor out of getting his hands on a mysterious device. But Gor only knows the culprit was the owner of the Millennium Falcon: Lando Calrissian. In the present, Han and Lando must put together a team, including everyone’s favorite Wookiee, to put a stop to Gor and his nefarious plans. Along the way Lando will realize that he has his own connection to the device, one that goes all the way back to his own days flying the Falcon with the droid L3-37. 
Star Wars: Last Shot takes place in three time periods: when Lando owned the Falcon; shortly after Han takes ownership of the Falcon; and not long after the Battle of Endor. And only secrets from all three time periods will help our heroes put a stop to a new threat to the galaxy!

Then there's this one, a YA novel (5/25/18).

Han and Qi’ra don’t have a lot in common other than not having a lot. They’re street kids on the industrial planet of Corellia, doing whatever it takes to get by, dreaming of something more. They each jump at a chance to prove themselves in the perilous world of Corellia’s criminal underbelly, only to discover they are on the same mission for the same unscrupulous boss. When the job goes disastrously wrong, Han and Qi’ra are on the run–from pirates, a droid crime syndicate, the Empire, and their boss—and will have to learn to trust each other if they have any chance of surviving.


Then we've got this handsome devil. Truly you belong with us, here among the clouds. A 5-issue mini-series from Marvel (5/29/18).

When a beautiful crime lord commissions the galaxy’s most talented smuggler to help free her people enslaved by the Empire, Lando Calrissian must wager it all on an impossible mission fraught with danger. Set just prior to the events of Solo: A Star Wars Story, our charming scoundrel must face Imperial forces with the help of his ship the Millennium Falcon in a deadly race against time. But even with the deck stacked against him, Lando can’t help playing the odds.


Then these two (5/25/18)...


Strangely enough, still no word on a novelization of the movie. Weird.


Lastly, we should throw in this one (7/24/18):

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

New School isn't like the Old School

One more series of gripes.

We have been spoiled over the years with lots of data about Star Wars vehicles. Their weaponry. Their hyperdrives. Their crew complements. Their lengths. And, in the case of capital ships, the number of starfighter squadrons they can carry (if any).

Much of this information is missing from the new releases.

I have been curious as to how many starfighters Profundity can carry (especially with that oversized and very prominent hangar).

How long is the TIE Reaper? What is it's official designation (like TIE/ln, TIE/sk, etc?). How many troops can it carry? C'mon, Pablo Hidalgo! This is right up your WEG alley! Let's get on these details, my man!

Finally: where is the Solo: A Star Wars Story novelization? For Rogue One, I knew about two novels (Catalyst and Rogue One) in early September, 2016 (at least 98 days before the film release). One hundred days before the Solo movie is...tomorrow. Happy Valentine's Day! (hopefully we'll learn something about this one).

Bringing Balance to My Force(s)

I have recently completed a purge of sorts, brought on by a growing collection of what I consider to be poor examples of Star Wars fare.

It all started with The Last Jedi. I can't shake the feeling that this was a terrible movie, right down to its rotten core. I have already ripped on it elsewhere, so I will refrain from revisiting those grievances. The point is, I realized that I had collected a large-ish amount of recent Star Wars material for which I did not really care. Dove-tailing with this feeling was a similar vibe about all things Star Wars Rebels. I watched the first few seasons of Rebels. It was OK, most of the time, but never great. And never quite Star Wars.

So I sold it.

A bunch of it. Books like The Last Jedi Visual Guide, Cobalt Squadron, Canto Bight, and Battlefront II: Inferno Squad. Star Wars Armada ships like the too-big QuasarFire-class and also too-big Interdictor-class ships. Both of them weirdly and unnecessarily redesigned previous items. Like the Thrawn re-invention, etc. Unforced errors on the Legends continuity constantly perpetrated by the Rebels show. Also in Armada, I had to get the Thrawn upgrade card, only found in the new Chimaera expansion. But...Rebels strikes again! This time with a graffiti'd version of an Imperial Star Destroyer they claim Thrawn would like and some dumb Mandalorian fighters.

So I purchased the Chimaera expansion and another, regular Imperial Star Destroyer (sans graffiti). I kept the pieces I wanted and sold the rest on eBay.

I also took the opportunity to sell any and all upgrade cards from Rebels. They ruin the Star Wars feel for me.

Also sent away in the Great Clean-out of 2018: my large collection of recent SW comics. All 51 issues of the Star Wars title (Marvel, Jan 2015 - Jan 2018; 41 regular issues, 3 annuals, multiple cross-overs). Twenty one issues (plus one annual) of the Poe Dameron title as well (Marvel, Apr 2016 - Dec 2017).

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

First Look at SOLO

For the sake of completeness, here is the Superbowl first look as well.

Perhaps this is Lando's buddy (a Clone Wars era T-series Tactical Droid):

Monday, February 5, 2018

Trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story

After very mixed feelings about The Last Jedi, I'm hopeful that this one will recapture the feel of Star Wars.


Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Last Jedi Visual Dictionary

Here's Pablo himself, set to try to make sense of Rian Johnson's dumb ideas. SPOLIERS abound.

What follows is a partial list of things that jumped out at me while going through this book. These complaints are linked directly to this crappy movie, of course. I am not done venting about TLJ. I will somewhat reluctantly go see it once more, then post my last entry about it.

Porgs are space puffins. Ok.

TLJ started "days" (3?) after TFA. Seems silly, as the opening crawl for TLJ says:
The FIRST ORDER reigns. Having decimated the peaceful Republic, Supreme Leader Snoke now deploys his merciless legions to seize military control of the galaxy. 
Only General Leia Organa’s band of RESISTANCE fighters stand against the rising tyranny, certain that Jedi Master Luke Skywalker will return and restore a spark of hope to the fight.
But the Resistance has been exposed. As the First Order speeds toward the rebel base, the brave heroes mount a desperate escape....
Pretty sweet. Secret hideout, disbelieved by the entire New Republic, except for the few people Leia has recruited, now the First Order now controls the galaxy in 3 days. Nice work, Snoke.

The Resistance fleet is 4 stupid ships. That apparently took over 3 days to get the D'Qar evacuation started. So that they can be ambushed by the First Order. Terrible time management, dummies.

One of these stupid ships, the Ninka, inexplicably carries "bunkerbuster" bombs. What? A space-based capital ship that carries, on outriggers, "high yield plasma bombs"? To drop where, exactly? Why is this the first ship of any faction, ever, to do such a thing? Why didn't this stupid ship use these against the First Order in the slow chase? Baffling. These people don't know what they're doing.

In a slow chase, it is always best to slowly let one capital ship at a time be evacuated and abandoned. While the others run out of fuel. Because abandoning capital ships during a fleet battle and fuel management overall are both excellent heroic stories worthy of Star Wars. Oh, wait. They're not.

If one was going to use a hyperspace suicide mission, couldn't one have done it right away? Then the Resistance would still have 3 ships, dummies.

Kylo Ren's TIE Silencer is said to carry torpedoes. With which he destroys all of the starfighters the Resistance has left, including Black One. FFG didn't know this, of course, so their version of the ship has no torpedoes. Because they are desperate for money, and can't wait until they know what they're designing before they release it. AGAIN.

FFG also did not, apparently, know the name MG-100 StarFortress.

Snoke is not a Sith. Apparently that line did end with Vader overthrowing Palpatine.

The Falcon's escape pods don't look like that, dummy. They are not one person, they are not just big enough to lay down in, they aren't mounted beneath the deck plating in the engineering section, and you do not use them to try to board en enemy capital ship in the middle of a slow chase. All of that is dumb.

The Lanais (Ahch-To caretakers of the Jedi temple). Part lizard, part bird, all nun? Comic relief? Or something?

The name Master Codebreaker. The personage of Master Codebreaker. The idea that you need a slicer in a fleet battle. The concept that you need to sneak aboard the opponent's ship during a fleet battle. The idea that you can take a quick side trek, during said fleet battle, to get said slicer to do said boarding. All stupid. Incredibly stupid.

The new aliens are bad. And not in the spirit of Star Wars.

Fathier stable Force-sensitive kids = bad. Heavy handed. Ham-fisted.

DJ. Annoying as a character. Wanting to find a specific hacker during a fleet battle is stupid. Accidentally finding a random hacker for your fleet battle needs is even worse. Did I mention that needing a hacker during a fleet battle is a stupid idea?

Stormtroopers carrying laser axes is also terrible. In every way.

A "siege cannon based on Death Star tech" is so bad, I wonder if Keven J. Anderson is involved. I take that back. I like everything bad he's written better than this stupid idea.

Rickety airspeeders that scrape along the ground? Bad. A suicidal last ditch attack against overwhelming odds? Ok...that can be a heroic Star Wars thing. Calling off said attack for some reason, after calling it "on" in the first place, makes no sense. Why? Why? Why?

Again the First Order wins the engineering prize: somehow they are able to make a bigger AT-AT than the Empire. Unlikely? Yes! But wait, there's more! They win, hands down, in the stupid name category: AT-M6. Meaning....All Terrain (good so far) MegaCaliber Six (WHHHHHAAAAATTTTTT!!!????!!!). So dumb. So. Dumb.

Everyone. Everywhere in the new galaxy. Stop talking about fathiers as if everyone knows what they are. This is the first place they've showed up, so cool your jets. You're acting like they're made of nerf burgers or something.

Rian Johnson has likely never seen a Star Wars movie before directing this terrible effort. I doubt he knows what a shared universe development effort looks like.


To sum up, let's listen to Mark Hamill, before he walked back his statements a bit:
I at one point had to say to Rian, “I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character. Now, having said that, I have gotten it off my chest, and my job now is to take what you’ve created and do my best to realize your vision.”
I said to Rian, I said “Jedis don’t give up.” I mean, even if he had a problem, he would maybe take a year to try and regroup, but if he made a mistake he would try and right that wrong, so right there, we had a fundamental difference, but, it’s not my story anymore. It’s somebody else’s story, and Rian needed me to be a certain way to make the ending effective. 
Well, in this version, see, I’m talking about the George Lucas Star Wars. This is the next generation of Star Wars. I almost had to think of Luke as another character. Maybe he’s Jake Skywalker, he’s not my Luke Skywalker. But I had to do what Rian wanted me to do because it serves the story well. Listen, I still haven’t accepted it completely, but, it’s only a movie. I hope people like it. I hope they don’t get upset. I came to really believe that Rian was the exact man they needed for this job.

I take these same positions, but even further. I disagree with every decision Rian Johnson made. His complete lack of understanding of Star Wars and disregard for all that has come before was worse than even the hack job Jar Jar Abrams created. This was worse in every way.

The existence of the Lucasfilm Story Group is a joke. They cannot even manage to not contradict themselves across different media types for the same release, not to mention keep new stories from ruining old canon. How sad.

Cobalt Squadron

Just finished this book. Meh.

I guess I should cut it more slack, due to its place as a "middle grade canon novel". However, many of these young adult titles have been good in the past (most notably, the wonderful Lost Stars). But the writing here is sub-par. Everything said is repeated around one hundred times. The "action" is low key and a bit bland. Another case of not correctly working a story into the overarching SW history and shared universe.

Mostly about Rose and Paige Tico, flying those ungainly looking StarFortresses. Man those things die easily. What a terrible ship. Everything about it is dumb. A big bomber that magnetically drops magnetic bombs, in space, wherein magnetism will guide the bombs to their target. Tail gunner, bottom gunner, but no top gunner. Guess they skipped that part of WWII bomber design. Look, I like  B-17s. I even like the Lancaster, which this author apparently got to fly in as prep for writing this book. But these things just aren't Star Wars. Sorry. Bad design, worse execution. Follows none of the pre-exisiting tech. Just poor all around. And they are so easily shot down that I wonder why anyone would want to set out in such a death trap.

One thing the book confirms is that the events of The Last Jedi take place about 3 days after the events of The Force Awakens. Which is dumb, as in TFA the First Order is a secret society that nobody has heard of and by TLJ the First Order is sweeping across the galaxy. Right. Terrible screenplay.

This book, along with TLJ, plays an un-compelling brand of small ball using uninteresting characters and jarringly bad tech decisions. These people, quite simply, don't know what they're doing.

I guess some blame has to land on people like Pablo Hidalgo, a former part time Winnipeg-based, freelance artist who did some work for WEG, and somehow parlayed that into a high level Lucasfilms career. The SW RPG from WEG was waaaayyy better than this sequel trilogy pile of junk in terms of internal consistency and world building. This is high profile amateur hour, comparatively.